Sunday, July 16, 2017

Uh oh, caught in the act!

 It's one thing to "sneak in" a camera at a music concert.

Most people today carry cell phones so no longer bother with a ""real" camera.

Sometimes you're not sure because the sign says "no flash please."

The ticket might state "no cameras or recording devices."

The Paul McCartney concert last Thursday in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth made it very clear, the singer - who just turned 75 years old - had no problem with fans taking photos.

When you went through security at the Infinite Energy Center
door, you were asked to place your keys, camera, and phone in the basket. All were returned a moment later.

The smiling crowd complied and we all were pleased with this nice, comforting welcome!

I had been to this Arena before for a Jack Black Tenacious D concert and remembered the steep stairs to the floor level.

So, I bought a tall beer before I ventured down to my 10th-row seat, careful not to slosh and spill my brew.

When the usher escorted me to the proper row, I asked if my memory was correct of beer & bathrooms on this floor level.

She smiled and pointed toward the back, letting me know I didn't have to climb those stairs again!

It was a festive crowd of old and young, some with nostalgia and others new to the McCartney scene since the Beatles.

Many knew him from Wings and there were some probably not aware he was in another band before that!

I had seen McCartney in 2011 in Charlotte and wanted to see if the years since had slowed him down?

Before that, while working as a staff photographer for the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper, I covered the Beatles 1965 concert as well as the morning zany press conference.

This night I quickly felt "slowing down" was NOT the case and sat back - with my camera - to document how a legend continues to grow and build upon itself.


It was quite a well-scripted musical performance. As usual, he started out wearing a coat and open collar but that lasted for only a few songs.

Then he doffed the pale blue coat and started rolling up his sleeves.

He planned a long and energetic night and delivered ALL of that to our delight.

Accompanied by a hard-working drummer, a talented keyboard artist, and two guitarists, the evening was going swell.

The key light stayed on the star of the show and my camera tended to show all the others slightly darker.

Hey, the crowd came to see Sir Paul.

Earlier I added a link to a review of the show so pertinent details appear there.

Click and look, perhaps there even is the set list of the 39 songs covered in the three-hour show.

Here is my favorite shot of the night!

A very-spirited, finger-snapping Paul obviously getting good feedback from the audience.

I had not kept count of the number of songs but did note he was on stage, performing on every one of them.

That would be a strain on a much younger man!

His enthusiasm is very evident and I am glad I captured that moment and am able to share it.

Speaking of sharing, I saw a family a few rows in front of me, all costumed as the Sgt. Pepper Band members from 50 years ago!

The videographer roaming the audience doing insert footage noticed them too and they were invited up on the stage to chat with Paul toward the end of the show.

Needless to say, they were ecstatic!

I believe they said they had come down from Kentucky for the show.

Paul asked the 11-year old if she had made her costume and she answered "no."

He quipped "You should have lied!"

When they came back to their seats, I gave the dad my card and suggested he email me and I would send some photos of them with McCartney.

The Mom did and I sent several the next day.

A short lady standing in front of me had an interesting REAL FAN tattoo and I asked about it.

She said he had signed her and she had a tattoo artist make it permanent. Well, that's what she told me.

I did notice her white sneakers had THE on the heel of left one and BEATLES on the heel of the right one. And four familiar faces on the front.

 I enjoyed the show and am pleased to have pictures I wanted to share.

I have had a blog for 10-years and it's a great place to share my various adventures with others.

Be sure to click on the link and the photos for more details.

Here are some other shots added to the end of this posting. Thanks for stopping by.

* Here's a link to the YouTube capture of LIVE AND LET DIE, the explosive WINGS song.

This was twice as long - and loud - as what I saw in 2011.

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Thursday, July 06, 2017

Looking down on 4th of July fireworks!

 A quiet week up in Northern Minnesota, on Lake Vermilion.

Relaxed with my younger daughter Heather and grandson Aiden.

I was so laid back I didn't even try fishing.

Sun came up early (I missed it) but the sunset was right around 10 pm so caught a lot of these scenes.

Another favorite spot was standing on a deck facing the lake, down from the geodesic domes on the family private island.

 My son-in-law is a former Marine so this flag is proudly on display often.

The mainland is not very far from the island and the nearest town - Cook, Minnesota - with Pop. 574 - is about 12 miles away. The whole County has 5,286 residents.

The island has varied modes of water travel: a power boat with a 40-hp Mercury outboard engine, a fiberglass paddle boat, and a bicycle-style float to get across to the other side.,

Handy, nearby Cook is where the gas station and general store is conveniently located. The Comet Theatre was founded there in 1939 and notes "There must be 5 patrons or you pay the difference."

About 25 miles away is the larger town of Virginia, MN - Pop 8,716 - with it's Wal-Mart, Great Clips, various small businesses,  and several very nice family-run restaurants.

Now, I'm back on the island for the first time in about 30 years and have not been there ever in the winter. I did live down in the Twin Cities for one year so I have experienced cold weather. "Cold" is when trucks drive on out the ice to deliver materials for summer construction projects. The ice usually "goes out" in April-May.

There are several rustic cabins on the island as well as three hardy and spacious wooden Domes.

My grandson filled most of the space with his various toys in the main dome's Great Room.

The almost 6-year-old was very good at clearing up all of his toys before bedtime. He used an abundance of large, empty, clear plastic containers.

The week on the island offered sunny days, a rainy afternoon, gorgeous sunsets, temps in the 50s and 60s and a slowed pace.

As Charleston comes into its hottest month of the year, it was a welcome change.

Oh and HHH, Hot, Hazy, and Humid down south.

I was surrounded by birch trees and Douglas firs, the sounds of a loon on the lake and the chatter of an occasional passing outboard.

Well, it had to end.

We packed up all we needed for travel and headed to Hibbing, Minnesota, to the regional airport, to fly back to Minneapolis/St. Paul, the Twin Cities.

The lobby was covered with images of famous Hibbing-ites such as Bob Dylan, recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and a man I've seen in concert a few times.

Also from there is baseball hero Roger Maris.

And Vincent Bugliosi, Prosecutor of Charles Manson, a trial I covered for CBS for about four months.

The "Fame on the (Iron) Range" display also included Judy Garland, listing her as born in Grand Rapids, about 41 miles from Hibbing.

Hey, close enough. Still part of the Range.

I took a photo of my grandson, posed with a "photo bombing" moose, grinning behind him.

Our plane arrived, we quickly went through TSA in the regional airport and the grandson was given a sticker with a badge image stating he was a Junior TSA officer.

I asked for one also.

It might come in handy at other airport security situations. Haha.

Oh, yeah, about "looking down on fireworks."

That happened after I landed in Atlanta and, eventually boarded the flight to Charleston.

We taxied out and as we slowly moved forward (a bit after 10 pm), we could see fireworks exploding and lighting up the sky off to the southeast.

By the time we were in the air, all the city and county "official" firework shows had ended but, as we climbed, there were dozens of small, individual flashes in backyards.

I could see the rockets climb and explode, scattering shiny and sparkling bits and pieces until we got higher and could see only the scattered flashes.

And, then we were in the clouds. Happy Fourth, America.


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Saturday, June 24, 2017

WOW! Had not ever seen THIS before....

 I've probably mentioned I have been visiting ALL of the craft breweries that have popped up in Charleston. We now have almost 20.

My buddy and I decided to pick three at a time that are fairly close together and go sample their brews on a relatively quiet Thursday evening.

 Hey, I am a craft beer fan, and it's the least I can do to sample and write about it on my blog. Burp.
The night after stopping at Revelry Brewing Company, I was looking at receipts and noticed that, at the bottom, a suggestion was made by Revelry to support a dozen other breweries.


 I have never seen such an example of camaraderie among competing companies like this before. 

I am sure Sears and K-Mart would no doubt appreciate a cross-plug by J.C. Penny or Target.
Or, Amazon inviting you to grocery shop at Whole Foods. Oh, wait a minute, that's going to happen really soon now that they just bought the 400+ organic stores for a ton of money.
About four more crafters are due to open in the next few months so I will drop by, sip some of their suds and blog about them.
I'll also check my receipts to see if other breweries are as altruistic.

Mural at Revelry

Checking out a 20-barrel beer tank

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Monday, June 12, 2017

More to life than just craft breweries....

 And, that, of course, would be fine dining.

Actually, at the Piccolo Finale in Hampton Park last Saturday, I opted to stand in line for two hotdogs.

Naturally, I saw the bacon sign and did head toward that food truck.

 But, instead, I was swayed by the other sign that said $5 for a hot dog, chips and a cola.

I am aware that a hot dog has never topped the list of healthy foods so I instead got two BRATS, packets of mustard and sweet pickle relish and some Fritter Corn Chips.

I didn't need a beverage.

My small cache of cold beer sat at my feet as I relaxed in my folding chair.

I looked around and straight ahead was a fellow wearing not only a Holy City Brewing Company t-shirt but one that featured the very beer I was sipping.

I tried to get MY beer in the same shot with the Chucktown Follicle Brown design he had on his back.

But, my arm wasn't long enough to include both items, zoom in and keep all of it in focus.

So I snapped this and resumed concentrating on my beer.

And enjoyed scanning the crowd sprawled on blankets, in chairs, and wandering all around me.

It appeared that each lady tending to a baby was also very pregnant.

That would be having twins the hard way.

Some childhood memories flooded my brain.

Children were tossing pieces of white bread to the gathered ducks in a nearby pond.

We have photos of my younger brother at Hampton Park doing that when he was about 7 or 8 years old.

I can't recall but Mom must have brought along a half-filled loaf of stale bread in its wrapper for just that purpose.

Nice memory.

Overhead, I saw half a dozen confused seagulls flapping and circling us overhead.

Guess they are not limited to the beaches or the last few K-Mart shopping centers parking lots, fighting over discarded bags of French fries.

This starry-eyed youngster was in line for some hot dogs.

I think she was giving me the eye as I raised my camera to snap this scene.

Hard to tell for sure though with her sunglasses covering her eyes.

I believe the Mom bought the $5 Special, aware that she would have to share.

Or, maybe she bought two Specials.

That's what I would have done, with leftovers for each.

My brats tasted good and two was about right for me.

Well, for now.

We were in the back of most of the crowd, facing the large tent that was the main stage.

The opening group played as we were getting settled and then, a large band - from Louisiana - started setting up.

To my right, by the pond and bridge, I saw a young man and his date. sitting on two of the 250 MUSC colorful rental bikes.

They had been recently donated to the city and proudly nicknamed Holy Spokes.

These are really high-tech and apparently, you use your SmartPhone to log into an onboard computer to open your two-wheeler account.

Believe I read it's $8 for an hour (hope they aren't paying that all afternoon!) but also can be rented for 15-days or even a month at a time.

The best part - if needed - is it can be located and recovered using its GPS chip.

Handy for the police or for a forgetful rider/renter.

There WAS a booth selling beer which surprised me at a city function.

But I had brought a few cans of a beer I liked just in case.

The sun was shining, the shade was provided by the ample trees, and there was a nice  steady cooling breeze (no bugs!).

I eased on back, enjoying the Cajun Indie band singing in French with at least 5 or 6 band members on stage.

 Speaking of the band Sweet Crude, here is a photo I snapped of the two leaders, Alexis Marceaux and Sam Craft, as they were performing.

Agreed, not a great shot, but it was taken from my seat at the back of the crowd!

This would not be hard for a fancy - and expensive - DSLR with its array of lenses.

But I snapped this with my $200 Canon camera that is very lightweight and small enough to fit into my shirt pocket.

Yes, I usually have it with me and enjoy its 20x zoom lens. This shot was about 40x zoom, combining optical and digital elements.

I did walk over for a closer view earlier and noted the parquet wooden dance floor that had been set up in front of the stage, along with several rows of black folding metal chairs.

That would be handy if you forgot your blanket or a folding beach chair.

And, since beer was being sold, looks like everything was well thought out and covered.

Hmmmm. Too late to get me another bratwurst.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Bet you're glad I didn't talk about craft breweries again.

Well, there's always tomorrow....
and my re-visit to Revelry Brewing Company.

The outside entertainment was provided by Lorra Amos of Sunflowers and Sin,

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Oops. Some local brewery visits I overlooked...

 Lo-Fi was among the three North Charleston breweries that I visited during my fourth mini-tour that, for several reasons, never made it into my blog.

Until Now.

One excuse: May The 4th Be With You was the day I picked to go taste some brewed product.

You know, May 4 and the big Star Wars hoopla, was going on.

My brewery tour "report" was sort of lost in the shuffle.

(This was a vastly different calendar event than the famed April 20th celebration.
That one involved "munchies" by avid celebrants. Unless they forgot about it until the next day.)

So finding the low-key LO-FI Brewing Company was the first challenge that Thursday afternoon/evening.

They were pretty vague about where it was located so it was somewhat of a challenge for my phone's GPS.

Came out Spruill Avenue and finally spotted a banner hanging on a fence about where it turned into Meeting Street Road.

The brewery was among a cluster of well-worn industrial buildings and I parked near the wide open doors and walked into the spacious setting.

The first thing I noticed was the bartender wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. OK, so the party had begun!

This site was a bit different from the others as I was used to ordering a flight so I could sample several different brews.

Not here at the Lo-Fi Brewing Company.

It was explained they did not have the small 4 oz. glasses nor the cute wooden tray that holds them.

Well, time to adapt. I asked what the most often requested, the most popular beer that they offered?

Then, I settled on a stool and sipped a pint of Glitter Pony, an 8.4 ABV Belgian Trippel, named, I suppose, for their symbol, the colorful unicorn.

My North Charleston brewery number two was just a short drive to Fatty's Beer Works, at 1436 Meeting Street Road.

The Star Wars effect was also obvious here and the celebration had started quite a while before we got there.

Relatively new (Fatty's opened in March), Davis McLain, the owner is personable and very welcoming.

You are not a stranger to him, just a friend he had not met yet. David proudly handed out stickers of the three labeled cans they produce - so far.

It was very obvious that dogs were welcomed here and many were lounging around, lapping at filled water bowls.

Several parked bikes showed the riders had found a handy pedal break spot along Meeting Street Road to take a break.

After finding this hospitable open space, I was pleased to hear the owner espouse that these new additions in a close proximity would be good promotable features of North Charleston.

David added his thought that Fatty's was a nice and tasty alternative to driving all the way downtown.

Perhaps this was a way to help alleviate some of the trafic.

Both of these breweries are promoting and expanding distribution of their cold and frosty products.

I recently sipped a Glitter Pony at YoBo Cantina in Park Circle so the word - and the product - is out there now in circulation.

The third brewery in North Charleston to be explored on this mini-crawl also offers a GPS challenge.

For example, the name itself might have you heading in the wrong direction! This is NOT east of the Cooper.

Cooper River Brewing Company opened as a 15 barrel brewhouse and taproom in the Upper Peninsula at 2201 Mechanic Street, Suite B.

The map on my phone's GPS showed more twists and turns than a  winding mountain road.

But, the lady's calm voice kept encouraging me that I WAS heading in the right direction.

And we did find it, pulled up, parked and went inside to the place that features a symbol an oft-sighted familiar bird, but here it is called the Brew Heron.

Caught the Managing Director and Co-Founder, Dustin Pait, behind the bar and he gave us a hearty welcome and poured us a delicious 4-sample flight of their beers.

Dustin said CRBC opened two years ago when three friends realized their dream. It even includes an outdoor courtyard to add a back porch feeling they all loved so much.

Jamie Martin had enjoyed touring breweries, Michael Gates and his wife had been home brewing for years and Dustin was known for having a nose for an excellent IPA.

Not surprising, the choices include a Summer IPA, an Inaugural IPA and a West Coast IPA.

There also is a Stout, Porter (Nitro), Golden Ale, Orange Infused Blonde Ale, ESB and a Watermelon Wheat.

Sorry about the delay in presenting one of our 3-breweries mini-tour facts, figures, and photos.

(Click on the pictures and links for more details).

I also went back to the Rusty Bull on Montague Avenue to check out its Grand Opening.

Quite a crowd and a fun time was had by all!

Thanks for tagging along.

We'll keep this up as newcomers open.

Enjoy a cool one!

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Craft beers and a road trip to Atlanta...

 I know my way around quite a few craft breweries here in Charleston so I "took it on the road" to Georgia's capital for a look at two there.

Did some research and it appears we have at least twice as many Crafters here than there are in Atlanta.

Hmm, would have thought just the opposite.

I earned my wings at Blue Tarp Brewing, in Decatur.

Saw the painting on the wall,  just sauntered over and posed as I sipped.

Then I saw other backdrops and the suggestion that they would appreciate people posting their photos online.

Another very large chalk board tried to give a quick overview of how the state of Georgia always requires a "tour."

Then you buy beer tickets or wooden coins to choose what you want to drink and in what prescribed quantities.

Blue Tarp Brewing Company's Founder & Brewmaster Tom Stahl was interested in my observations of the Craft scene in Charleston as he attempted to explain that a TOUR is the Georgia focal point at all the breweries and that allows him to sell brews in proper portions so visitors could  enjoy some cold suds.

Then Tom excused himself to go lead an actual tour.

I snapped a picture of the blackboard poster so I could refer to the necessary optional steps that are offered.

I certainly wanted to obey the law.

This was our second stop after buying wooden "nickels" and hoisting a few at 3 Taverns Craft Beers.

It had a neat loft upstairs where you could look out over the tasting room and watch the line form, move forward and then the people would go sit back down inside or step out on the patio to sip 6 ounces or whatever choices they had made.

Per the information posted, people were also leaving with 6-packs and two sizes of Growlers, 64 ounces or 32 ozs.

Then, shuffle up to the serving area again and hand over wooden tokens.

It was a jovial crowd and we had a nice conversation with a husband and wife who had come up from Lexington, a suburb of Columbia.

Friday night we were among 6,000 other fans of Chris Rock, performing his comedy at the Fabulous Fox Theater.

Rock had booked the Fox  for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

That's pleasing many thousands of his fans.

We decided to check out a few craft breweries the next day while we were in town.

Tasting in moderation of course, before driving back home.

We used GPS to find our way around from the Hyatt, and stopped for a delightful brunch at one of the Flying Biscuit Cafe near Little 5 Points.

They are scattered around Atlanta and we appreciated that the Saturday traffic was light before the Memorial Day weekend.

On the drive back to Charleston, we noticed that the Starbucks' symbol had been added to Interstate markers showing a variety of food close by at the next exit.

Didn't remember seeing that addition before among all the Waffle House and Huddle House signs.

As we traveled around Atlanta neighborhoods, the GPS lady managed to direct us through a tunnel beneath train tracks - I think - covered with colorful graffiti.

As we moved slowly through, I caught a photo of some young men in the process of adding their visual messages.

This was turning into a multiple-treat capital city tour.

My eyes and camera were filled with images that I wanted to share.

This was to make up for the NO CAMERA evening the night before with Chris Rock.

Here is a scattering of images I collected during this overnight road trip.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for riding along and sipping a few tasty beers.

I have visited just about all 20 breweries here in Charleston, North Charleston, West Ashley, Mt. Pleasant, James and Johns Island, and the only one in

A new one is about to open named Pawleys Island, right here in Charleston and another in Park Circle.

Cooper River Brewing Company is one you really need to use GPS to find.

It's worth it they all are.

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